Although our time in Brussels was quite short, it was seriously overwhelming! As our student map stated, it is the place for people who love chaotic, crazy and bustling cities full of activity and confusion… this was not an understatement! Having both lived in the metropolis of Johannesburg for almost a decade, we didn’t think it would be a problem. We were wrong… as we drove into Brussels and through the many tunnels under the city looking for our hotel, we came to the realization that we may need more than two days to explore this HUGE place. Even with the help of the Brussels City Cards, navigating our way through this town took a lot of effort. Unlike the other towns we visited in Belgium, everything was in French instead of Dutch and we didn’t understand a thing. We couldn’t figure out which trams to take and no one seemed to understand us either. We actually spent about 2 hours sitting at a take-away restaurant pouring over maps and trying to figure out how to get back to our hotel – turns out it was closer than we thought…
We are so grateful to have booked a night at one of the best hotels in Brussels, as it was such a relief to us in that crazy city. Booking in at Pantone Hotel was an easy and uncomplicated process and the staff we dealt with were super friendly. At my request for a room with a balcony we were promptly upgraded to the best room in the hotel – the Penthouse Suite on the 8th floor, at no extra charge! My only complaint is that our neighbors in the other suite were exceptionally noisy quite late at night and early in the morning while waiting for the elevator – but not much can be done about that.
All the Colors
As the name suggests the hotel is inspired by the famous color matching system Pantone and this theme is central to all the rooms, the lobby and even the outside. Each floor has a different color scheme that adds the pop of color to a room that is mostly white. This theme is awesome in terms of experimenting with the psychological affects of colors and color therapy. I must say it was very stylishly done and we really enjoyed our stay. The bathroom was big and had everything we needed and more (including multicolored toilet paper!?) The bed was comfortable and we had a variety of channels to choose from if we wanted to watch TV. The room was clean and well-furnished with all the necessities.
Our suite on the top floor was quite large, and we even had a terrace on both sides of the room, giving us some amazing views of Brussels. My favorite part was the terrace though and we spent quite a bit of time enjoying this vantage point and recuperating from our stressful day.
This hotel was quite central in Brussels and it was a quick and easy walk for us to get to a central street for dinner. Afterwards as we walked back taking in a bit more of the city we stopped for a street food dessert of ice cream and a yummy Liege waffle. The breakfast was also exceptional and quite enjoyable in their funky and multi-colored dining area. The buffet provided us with a large variety of options and we enjoyed every part of it. The hotel even had its own little shop if needed something to eat or drink or if you wanted to take home something Pantone themed.
As we left the hotel the next morning the staff kindly offered to direct us to our destination – the train station. We also wished we could spend another night in this colorful hotel. However, we stepped outside into the drizzle and slowly made our way to the train station and got to see another area of the city. I realized that this city can be quite overwhelming and we could have used some tips:
- Make use of an offline GPS on your phone such as HereWeGo!
- The maps are large and it can be difficult to find the small streets on it.
- Choose a central hotel that is close to sites you want to see and shops/restaurants.
- Learn a bit of French before you go to make communication a bit easier.
- Try the street food – especially the Liege waffles.
- Stay at a hotel with friendly and helpful staff such as Pantone Hotel.